Fireteam Elite is a great game, with a host of excellent features that make it a winner in the FPS genre. The game has a host of unique modes that players can test their skills in, and they can use the game’s Multiplayer Fireteam feature to team-up with friends and play cooperatively against other fireteams. The game’s AI is very well programmed, with all of the levels and enemies having a genuine challenge to players.

So far, Fireteam Elite is shaping up to be a solid tactical title that will definitely appeal to fans of the original Alien Shooter game. At the moment, I’ve made it through the first three missions, and am beginning my second playthrough of them. The game is a mix of arcade-like action and strategic-level tactics that lets you select which character to play as, and which to leave behind. Which one you pick will affect the rest of the game, as well as how many credits you earn from each mission.

For the longest time, I have been a big fan of the Aliens franchise. I have played almost the entire series of the games and I have always enjoyed what I have played. I loved the idea of a third person shooter that took place in the Alien universe. Aliens: Fireteam Elite is the latest entry in the franchise and it is my first chance to play.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Intro

Aliens: Fireteam Elite harnesses the euphoria of annihilating swarms of Xenomorphs with a diverse array of high-powered weapons. It’s not difficult to determine whether or not you agree with what it has to give since it never minces words.

In between periods of furious action, there’s enough narrative to give your efforts a direction, but the emphasis is very much on aiming your pistol at the opponent and shooting away while remaining alive.

The frightening, deadly Xenomorph created by H.R. Giger made his imprint on popular culture as a horror adversary, but as developer Cold Iron Studios has shown, it also works well in an action setting.

Theme of the Game

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a third-person co-op shooter in the style of Left 4 Dead that pits your three-person team against an assault of Xenomorphs and synthesizers on and around the planed LV-895, while adding classes and customisable weapons to the mix.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Campaign for one player

You may put your shooting abilities to the test in four campaigns, each with its own narrative thread and an additional horde mode. Each campaign consists of three objectives (20-30 minutes each) that you may complete on your own or with the help of two AI synth buddies called Alpha and Beta. They’re generally trustworthy friends, killing opponents, resurrecting you and each other, and healing you when necessary, but they have a hard time dealing with unique enemies.

They’ll have problems releasing each other when pinned down, even on the second of five difficulties, and may occasionally watch quietly while attackers chop away at you. Although they have the same loadout as the Gunner class, they are less effective than a complete human squad, yet they can still win the game on Standard level.

The narrative won’t make you cry, but the effort put into giving your actions a meaning, as well as the extra Intel found in levels, which provides a wider perspective on what’s going on in the world, combine to build a surprisingly realistic atmosphere surrounding your goal.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Multiplayer

The multiplayer option is basically the same as the single-player game, but with human partners. It uses the same map pool as the previous game and offers comparable prizes. Not only will replacing the AI with (hopefully) fleshier companions improve communication, but you’ll also be able to utilize the skills and weapons of three other classes instead of just your own.

After spent the most of the time leading up to this review-in-progress with its single-player equivalent, we’re still getting a sense of how it plays. In a few days, we’ll get our complete impressions online.

Mechanics of the Gameplay

Aliens: Fireteam Elite takes a simple approach to third-person co-op gameplay. As part of a three-person squad, you must navigate the interiors of spacecraft, space stations, and ancient ruins while avoiding Xenomorphs and other nefarious creatures. Collectibles such as intel, which builds on the narrative, and secret caches, which offer additional prizes in the form of attachments, weapons, and skins, are included throughout the game’s linear stages.

Missions vary between sections where you defend fixed positions and sections when you move and fire, but not without allowing you to take a breather. When dealing with more tough waves – frequently while waiting for your AI companion to do a mission-critical job – you’ll be handed an ammunition box and a medkit to refill, as well as other consumable supplies like turrets, drones that boost your damage, and incendiary ammo. These are spread out on Standard level so you don’t constantly feel like a god of death with an endless supply of ammunition in your pocket.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

When you first play the campaign, there are a few surprises in store for you, but after a few replays, you’ll already know when it’s best to push through, which chest-high wall to use for cover, and even a decent idea of what opponents to anticipate. The swarm puts your skill to shoot a wide variety of targets to the test, but the larger opponents aren’t as exciting as they might be.

Don’t get us wrong: you’re in full panic mode the minute a Praetorian walks up to you and demands everything you have. However, after a few fights, you realize that your tactics don’t change all that much, and these evolved Xenomorphs – whether they spit acid balls from afar or retreat into conveniently placed holes after pinning you down – are fairly predictable, with their main strength coming from being bullet sponges and having 15 other friends trying to nibble at your toes.

You may choose one of four courses to complete these missions: Gunner, Demolisher, Technician, or Doc. The fifth, Recon, is unlocked after completing all four missions, while the sixth, Phalanx, will be released on September 8 with the first season of free content. The Demolisher may attach heavier weapons like the Smartgun and fire mini-rockets from a shoulder-mounted launcher, while the Gunner is a medium-to-long-range specialist who can increase the team’s firing rate and reload speed as well as lob grenades.

On top of the medkits that everyone carries, the Technician carries a deployable turret, and the Doc’s trauma station offers on-the-go healing. Each one is a good option for a distinct playstyle, but we couldn’t resist the Smartgun’s amazing room-clearing powers.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Differentiating between classes is further aided by weapon loadouts and perks. As they’re put in a grid, you’ll be playing upgrade Tetris. From basic perks, you can receive flat boosts for your weapon skills, and you may connect modifiers to the abilities around the edges to make them more effective or change how they behave. Specific parts of the grid are locked behind certain class levels, and you’ll need to play more than time to access everything. Weapons level up as well, giving you up to four permanent benefits the more you use them.

Each class has enough individuality that you’ll want to try out all of them, as well as the weapons you may earn by completing missions or buy from the armory aboard the Endeavor, your home ship. In fact, considering how wonderful the weapons feel in your hands, they’re incentive enough to repeat levels. You may also improve them with a variety of attachments, some of which offer a subtle gameplay aspect, such as a stacking boost or the ability to leave a pool of fire under specific circumstances.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite has a Combat Rating system to show your character’s relative strength, but you won’t be pursuing incremental improvements indefinitely, at least for the time being. Each weapon has its own battle rating, which you may improve with attachments. Your character’s overall rating is improved by combining your customizations and weapon level. If you’re feeling really daring, you may increase the difficulty of a task by using challenge cards.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Visuals

The interiors of Aliens: Fireteam Elite perfectly reflect the stunning visual style of the franchise’s most recent films. Dark, tight corridors lead to open spaces that will leave you speechless. Even when you’re knee-deep in the blood of a hundred Xenomorphs, good use of shadows creates a sense of mystery, while the explosions of red barrels or mines generate strong contrasts that immediately attract attention to them.

The outside places aren’t quite as good, but there aren’t many of them. However, it’s odd that the characters’ lips aren’t animated when they speak.

Audio & Music

The weapons of Fireteam are the stars of the show, and their sound is a big part of what makes them so good. Not only does the game give its Pulse Rifle credit, but other weapons, even the lesser guns that you shouldn’t overlook, pack a punch. Aside from being a pleasure to use, the Smartgun’s thunderous scream deserves particular notice, although you’ll discover that weapons in the same class feel different from one another.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

The music in Fireteam complements the action, although it may not be a soundtrack you want to listen to after you’ve finished slaughtering. You’ll find it pleasingly adventurous in its more tranquil moments, but the battle music does enhance the suspense of watching tens of Xenos or synthesizers approaching you. Special Xenomorph screeches, on the other hand, aren’t always simple to spot.

AI

The opponent AI isn’t very clever, but it can represent a major danger – depending on the difficulty level – and may make your life miserable by gaining a numerical advantage. While it may get caught negotiating ceilings and terrain, we have gotten out of battles by the skin of our teeth on many times.

There is, however, some additional strange activity. Prowlers frequently hide in plain sight, like a cartoon villain’s comical sidekick, and even the Warrior, as deadly as it is, wanders about calmly, takes its time to remind you that it’s intimidating, and has a long special assault. This offers you a fighting chance, but it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the action very well.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Accessibility

Aliens: Fireteam Elite has four colorblind mode options as well as strength adjustments. Other accessibility features include Menu Parallax, altering the aim down sights mode from Hold to Toggle, and subtitle choices, as seen in the image above.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review-in-Progress

Performance

We did notice some frame dips on the maximum settings on an Intel i7-8700K, 16 GB RAM, and Nvidia 1070 GTX @ 1080p, but only while looking at certain sections of levels from specific angles. Certain (but not all) of the more packed bouts suffered from noticeably decreased smoothness. Changing the shadow setting to Medium and Antialiasing to 2 resulted in some quality loss in return for some improvement.

Early Conclusion

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a video game adaptation of an unashamedly loud action film. It wants you to kill as many objects as possible, and it provides you with plenty of means to do it. While the game’s special opponents are disappointing, the weapon noises and general pace of battle engagements make up for it. The encounters’ structure gets a little repetitive, but fierce fights and unexpected narrative twists make for an enjoyable initial playing, while maxing up every class and using all of the available weapons later adds to replayability. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is a game that understands exactly what it wants to be and achieves the majority of its goals.

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